Friday, April 18, 2014

Good Friday: Way of the Cross

Editor's note: These mosaic Stations of the Cross were made by Fr. Nevin Ford, O.F.M. and are installed in an olive garden on the Santa Barbara Mission grounds. Photos and text below [St. Catherine's Way of the Cross] submitted by Michael.

I Jesus is condemned to death. 
O selfish love and servile fear, you blind the eye of the intellect, not allowing it to know the truth.  O inordinate fear, you reach such blindness that you lose the fear of the wicked and condemn the just man.  Indeed, this is the perverse fear and love which killed Christ; for, in his dread of losing power, Pilate was blinded and did not recognize Truth.

II Jesus receives the cross on His shoulders.

Oh the unspeakable and incalculable love of God!  To save his disobedient, rebellious children he gave himself up to becoming a creature, to being despised, disgraced, insulted, mocked and finally put to death as a malefactor.  Well have you loved me, most sweet Jesus love, and thereby you teach me how much I should love myself and my brethren, whom you loved so deeply.

III Jesus falls the first time

What way did he walk, this gentle master, this spotless lamb?  He walked the way of deep humility in that, being God, he so humbled himself as to become man.

IV Jesus meets his mother.

The Word grafted upon her flesh was like a seed cast into the earth.  She shared the same longing for the honor of God and the salvation of His creatures.  Hence it is that learned men say that she would have made of herself a ladder to set her Son upon the cross, had there been no other means of doing so.

V Simon of Cyrene carries the cross of Jesus.

Bind yourselves, bind yourselves together in charity; let each one endure and bear with the other, so that you may be united, not scattered, in Christ.  He declared that the children of God are not known by any other sign except the union of love which a person bears his neighbor in perfect charity.

VI Veronica wipes the face of Jesus.

O compassionate blood!  Through you was distilled the divine mercy.  In you humankind can understand and see the truth of the eternal Father.  By this truth and ineffable love we were created in the image and likeness of God.

VII Jesus falls a second time

Alas, we encounter death through our rebellion against the commandments of God; daily we fall into this same death, by transgressing his sweet will.

VIII The women of Jerusalem weep for Jesus

Now is the time to cry, to weep, to lament: this time is ours because the spouse of Christ is persecuted by Christians, her own false and corrupted members.  But God will not despise the tears, sweat and sighs of his servants.

IX Jesus falls a third time

Our king behaves like a truly valiant knight.  Barehanded, he has overcome the prince of this world; by giving the life of his body he destroyed the death of sin; by means of death he overcame death.

X Jesus is stripped of his garments

He was the immaculate Lamb who despised the riches and dignities of the world.  Finally he dies naked on the cross so as to clothe man once more and cover his nakedness.

XI Jesus is nailed to the cross

A nail would not have been enough to hold him fastened, if the indescribable love he had for our salvation had not held him bound.  So then it was the intense love for the Father's honor and our salvation which kept him there.

XII Jesus dies for us on the cross

Mind His great patience!  He does not consider the abuses heaped upon Him on the cross.  Rather, in great joy he called out "Consummatum est" and though that word sounded sorrowful there was joy in that soul.  The painful desire I had to buy back the human race is achieved; therefore do I rejoice and exult.

XIII Jesus is taken down from the cross and laid in the arms of his mother

Gentle and immaculate Lamb, you were already dead when your side was opened; why were you willing to be pierced and to have your heart cleft in two?  Because my desire was infinite with respect to the human race while the endurance of pain and torment was finite.  And further I wanted you to see the secret of the heart, showing it to you opened so that you could see that I loved you.

XIV Jesus is laid in the sepulcher

O nature divine, you raise the dead and you alone give life:  you willed to join dead human nature to restore it to life.  Not even in the tomb could one nature be separated from the other.

He returns to the eternal Father with the victory he has gained of having drawn the human race out of darkness and restored to it the light of grace.  The blood and determination of this captain should inspire courage in us for every battle: by enduring all things for love of Him we too, shall return victorious to the city of eternal life.

1 comment:

  1. For those reading this who may not be aware, some of us prayed these stations on Palm Sunday. Some of us also went to seven churches for adoration on Holy Th ursday, an ancient tradition introduced to us by Michael. were discussing the differences between the Gospels. I was reminded today, through a meditation by Father James Martin and the reading of the Passion According to John at services, that most of the Stations of the Cross are taken from the Synoptic Gospels. John has fewer details about the Way of the Cross, although it does of course note Jesus’s last words to his mother. All of the Gospels show, in different ways, how Jesus understood and embraced his sacrifice.